How to type accents and other "weird" symbols
1. Use the clickable accented characters, currently available on most WordReference forums.
2. Install the appropriate keyboard. It is very fast and easy. You will not lose the keyboard you are used to. You will be able to toggle between several keyboards.
When you post here on WR, you will see a list of accented characters at the top right side of the reply window, provided that you selected the "enhanced" editor in your profile settings
(as opposed to the "standard" or "basic" editor). Click an accented letter from the pull-down list to insert it in your post. The list of available characters depends on the forum where you are posting. Note: clickable accented characters are not available for private messages.
How to do it?
- a detailed guide
(works for all languages)
- details here
(and if you have a better site, please suggest it!)
3. Use accent codes. Special key sequences on your existing keyboard will allow you to type accented letters.
The exact details depend on your operating system.
Windows - different combinations of Alt and a number code will produce a special characters.
Links for specific languages are at the end of this post but you can find all numeric combinations here
. Not very practical if you need to memorize many combinations, and problematic for many other reasons (Firefox users, scroll down).
Mac OS X 10.7 and later - very easy! Press and hold the key for the un-accented letter. A list of accented forms and related special characters will appear on your screen.
To insert one, click it, use the arrow keys in combination with Enter, or press the key corresponding to the small digit below the accented letter. This method works for all major languages written with a Latin-based alphabet.
Mac OS older releases
- use the Option key codes. Information here
4. Use a multilingual keyboard like the one from Lexilogos. The interface is in French but it is extremely intuitive and user-friendly. No installation is required.
Another popular multilingual keyboard is TypeIt
(not as many languages).
5. Use a text editor or utility program on your computer.
- Do you have to work with many different encodings? Do you want to work with a different keyboard without having to memorize it? Or are you simply tired of toggling? Download SC Unipad, an excellent tool (available for free for viewers and occasional users) that lets you type in many languages (without having to install any keyboards). You can either type directly on your own keyboard or use your mouse to type with a soft on-screen keyboard. You can also create your own keyboard layouts. The software has many functions for advanced users but complete beginners will appreciate it, too.
- Microsoft has a free Keyboard Layout Creator. Details here.
- Utility programs like AllChars (opensource freeware) allow you to use certain key combinations to create accents and other special characters (e.g. press and release CTRL, then type ', then type e to produce é). You can also custom-configure the utility to convert abbreviations into longer text strings (e.g., you could set /wr to convert automatically to "WordReference"). Thanks, Calande!
- Mac OS - use the character palette (information here and here)
6. For IPA symbols, use this on-screen IPA keyboard.
You may need to set your font to Lucida Sans Unicode when you copy the symbols into a text box here on WordReference.
Attempts to use Alt combinations will often result in interferences with access keys*. That is, instead of producing a letter, you end up on another page.
- Make sure that your numeric keyboard is activated. Notebook users will have to use the Fn key to activate the integrated numeric keyboard.
- If you never use access keys, you can disable them to avoid problems with Alt combinations. How to do it: Type about:config in your address bar. Scroll down and find "ui.key.generalAccessKey." Double-click it and set the value to 0.
* Access keys - shortcuts that help you navigate the forum more quickly. Examples:
Alt + 1 - forum homepage
Alt + 2 - new posts
Alt + 4 - search
Alt + 5 - FAQ
Alt + x - open the advanced reply window
Alt + s - submit a reply / send a PM / save your settings (depending on where you are)
Alt + arrows - back and forward button
Links to character input and formatting instructions available in individual subforums:
French-English - includes hexadecimal codes for Linux
Russian & Slavic languages